Funny, almost forgot that today was Wednesday. Sorry about that.

Alright, let's here the rest of that story now.

Chapter 16: The Things that Families Do

Chance and Holly were sitting in his room. Chance was rereading his notes and Holly was staring at his ceiling.

"…I'm sorry," Holly said for the millionth time.

"It's ok, it had to happen eventually," Chance replied.

It was the only form of communication they could say to each other. There was nothing else that could be said. It was an awkward situation at best. Eventually, Holly finally broke the cycle.

"…You think you ever gonna forgive them?" Holly asked.

"What are you talking about? They never did anything to me," Chance said.

"Do you think Alfonse would ever forgive them if he was still alive?" Holly asked.

"…I think Alfonse would definitely forgive them if they would just let him back in the house without the magic stipulation," Chance replied.

"…Was it really that bad, having no magic?" Holly wondered.

"It was like I was the only guy in the world who had three eyes," Chance said. "It would be something like that, but ten times worse since they had fireballs."

"…This is so messed up," Holly thought.

"Yeah, which is why we are done with those people," Chance said.

"…Hey Freeman," Holly said.

"Yes?" Chance answered.

"What happened?" Holly wondered.

"It's a long story," Chance muttered.

"We're not doing much right now," Holly pointed out.

Chance stayed silent, hunched over his notes.

"Chance…please, tell me," Holly asked.

"…Alfonse Francis Knightley was born roughly sixteen years ago, give or take a few months. He was born to the aristocratic Knightly Family, who were known for being very powerful spellcasters and for having ties with the Britannian King himself. Anyways, when he was born, everyone surely thought that it was just another birth of an excellent member of the so excellent Knightley Family.

"A few years later, the boy was praised for his intelligence and quick wit. His ability to understand even advanced magical concepts had everyone gossiping that he surely would become an excellent mage. To be quite frank, the boy didn't care too much about that. All he cared about is how fun and exiting the world of magic was. He would read the books in their library over and over until his eyes burned red. He would have his parents explain everything he didn't understand until he could repeat it word for word. He had then read the books to him at night and day, as if they were fairy tales. He would even lecture his younger sister, despite her age. Yes he… loved magic.

"Apparently, the universe hated him though. One day at school, the teacher found that while he could talk endlessly about magic, he had never seen him perform it. So, the boy tried to cast a simple spell…and failed miserably. No matter what he did, the spell did not work. Soon, it was found that he could not actually do a bit of magic. When his parents heard, they were flabbergasted. After all, it wasn't logical for a boy blessed by a fairly large and powerful magical lineage to just not be able to do it at all. It was so illogical that they started to blame things. Blame the teacher for making the boy nervous. Blame the books and tutors for they were useless. Blame each other for fidelity. Soon, they got over this blame game and started to search for solutions.

"It wasn't proper for such a powerful family to have something disgusting as a magic-less child. It wasn't proper for such a person to use their name, title, heritage, resources, etcetera. It wasn't proper, so it had to be changed at all costs.

"Searching the world, they looked for a 'cure' to this 'disease' this 'infestation' this 'horror' that has been bestowed upon them. They couldn't find anything, and while they were searching the world, Alfonse Francis Knightley was at school, being mocked. After all, a scandal such as a magic-less bastard of a child couldn't possibly be overlooked. He was…an abomination after all. But through that torture and teasing, the boy endured. See, the boy kept thinking that the parents would surely find the answer to his predicament. To why a healthy boy couldn't do magic. So, in order to not disturb the parents, he hid his pains and bruises and burns and cuts and scars from his parents, as to not alarm them you see. However, it was not to be.

"One day, the parents finally found an answer. It was not a pleasing answer. It came from some doctor of some degree who checked the boy and declared that tragic answer. The doctor said he was missing something apparently. He was missing something incredibly vital to the magic process. The doctor called it a 'key.' This here 'key' you see was very vital. One could think of it as a key to a house, or more appropriately, a warehouse. The key let a normal person use magic by letting them control how they used mana. The boy could have a giant surplus of mana and it wouldn't matter without this key. Of course, this was purely hypothetical of course since it can't exactly be proven. But it made sense. After all, how could a perfectly normal boy with a healthy soul and mana streams and mana deltas not use magic? It's an impossibility. So, he was missing a key. And there was nothing anyone could do about it.

"Alfonse thought that his parents would still love him, regardless of the key. Funny, he did not see the growing resentment of the parents. I mean, how could he? The word 'resentment' was completely a foreign thought. How could have known that his parents would face ridicule and infamy over this one trite detail? How could he have known that his very existence pressed harshly on their very minds, tearing them to bits with resentment and anger? How could he have known that his existence was a bane to their life? It was impossible that he knew the pain it was causing them, the embarrassment, the anger. But one day, he found out. The hard way of course. Because the world hated Alfonse Francis Knightley.

"One night, Alfonse was sleeping when he was jostled awake by his parents. They looked grim and haggard as they stared at the boy. The boy eyed them curiously, but before he could say anything, they said sorry to the boy. And that he was no longer their son. The boy couldn't understand why they would say such a thing until he was knocked out, sent on a boat, and then placed unceremoniously on the cold hard streets of this very city. Finding himself lost and alone, he wandered around for a few days, scared out of his mind. All he had was a little card and a note that said to use the card when he was hungry. One day he did use it and found that there was ten million dollars in the card. He was surprised, but didn't really care since, oh I don't know, he was lost and alone. Yeah, that alone part probably did it. Luckily, a very nice lady took care of him for a while.

"The lady was very nice, you see. She was kind and gentle and caring. The lady also taught him new things, like how to beg, how to pay back debts, how to work, and how to run away when you get into unfair trouble, that sort of stuff. Granted, she taught him things in exchange for being a dress-up doll for the lady, but in the grand scheme of things it was a fair price to pay. One day, the boy told her about his own condition, his inability to use magic, and asked if she knew anything about it. The lady frowned and told him of a doctor in a great desert far east. She said that the man could have something that would let him use magic.

"The boy jumped at this chance. He was sadly still convinced that if he can find some way to use magic, then he can get back to his parents and his adorable sister and they would love him again like old times. So the boy said he was going to that desert if it killed him.

"The lady refused of course, like a good lady should. I mean, send a six or seven ish year old child to the desert? She was a lot of things, but not mad. Ok, maybe a bit mad but certainly not stupid at any rate. She refused and refused until finally the boy got through to the lady. She said of which desert to go to, thinking that the boy had no way to get there, but the boy did. The boy spent some money on a boat and some food for the trip. He left behind the kind lady, promising that he would pay her back some day. When he was rich again and back with his family.

"However, he found that things were harder than he thought. Turns out, Alfonse really, really hated hot climates. He also found that deserts did not have a lot of water. But he searched that desert up and down, looking and searching for this fabled doctor. He searched and searched until he was dying of thirst right in the middle of nowhere. Until the very end, he was begging and begging for his family to find him and bring him back. Until the end, he thought that his parents would really take him back. But it was not to be, and he died in that desert," Chance stated.

"…And where was Chance Freeman in all of this?" Holly questioned.

"I also happened to be looking for a cure for the exact same reasons Alfonse was. I was also in that desert, but after fainting, I found myself in some mysterious den. It was the home of that doctor. The doctor listened to my story and declared that I cannot use my own magic. However, I can use other people's magic," Chance answered. "Through complex rituals, I can borrow other people's Mana and use it how I see fit. Basically, if I didn't have my own key, I can use somebody else's warehouse with permission."

"And that's how you can use magic?" Holly wondered, not quite believing.

"That's how I can use magic," Chance stated. "Just make a contract, fill up some item with the other's Mana, and then pour it out when needed."

"…Well…I don't know what to say," Holly muttered.

"What is there to say? Nothing has changed," Chance sighed. "Nothing at all."

Chance turned around and looked over his notes yet again. Holly waited for a few seconds before sighing herself and getting to her feet. She started to walk out the door when she turned around to face Chance.

"You know, you're wrong about one thing, something has changed," Holly stated.

"Oh, what?" Chance asked.

"I'm here," Holly replied as she left.

And there we have it in all of its glory. You know, originally I had Chance explaining his past in the last chapter with family present. But after looking at it, I thought best that it should be here. It just seems to fit.

Anyways, I have bad news. Of Magic and Contracts will be on HIATUS until further notice. Sorry about that but I want to really plan out this storyline well and I've been having second doubts about it. Sorry.